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Safer automotive maintenance products welcomed

24/01/2018

While the threat of shark attacks are constantly in the news at this time of year it's a sad fact that more Australians are killed working on their cars than by Great Whites lurking in the surf.

Each year around five Australians are killed by vehicles falling on them during maintenance, with a further 43 injured. It's a grim statistic that the Australian Government is keen to do something about.

The government has recently strengthened safety standards on automotive maintenance products including motor vehicle recovery straps, portable ramps and vehicle support stands. They'll now need safety warning labels and better instructions for safe use that make it plain that misusing them could kill or seriously injure you.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Michael McCormack, said consumer safety was his highest priority.

"Deaths have been linked to incorrect use of lifting and support products. For instance, using a trolley jack without vehicle support stands, or using unstable and inappropriate alternatives such as bricks and wooden blocks," McCormack said.

Suppliers will have two years to re-design and manufacture their products to meet the new standards.

"The holiday period is a good time to catch up on the to-do-list of jobs and car maintenance will be on the list for many Australians and I want to ensure consumers are aware of the risks involved," Mr McCormack said.

"I encourage any person intending to do at-home car maintenance using any of these products to know the risks involved and take precautions to protect their safety when using these products," he said.

It's a move that's been welcomed by Fleetcare CEO Nigel Malcolm.

"Fleetcare has always taken safety seriously, so this is a very welcome move that's hopefully going to save lives and injuries in the long term," Mr Malcolm said.

"Among those new standards are improvements to the safety and performance of trolley jacks, including testing through specialist laboratories, which are particularly welcome," he said.

"But even with those new standards you should never get under a car that's just supported by a jack. In fact you shouldn't have any part of your body under a vehicle unless it's sitting securely on support stands or ramps."

"46 Australians have died in the last decade by being crushed while working under vehicles. All those deaths were preventable," he said.

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